We’ve had hints before. Back in January, Jeff Dunetz, writing at lidblog.com (best known on Twitter as @yidwithlid) reported on a conversation he had with Cheri Jacobus. This was just conversation that may or may not be accurately remembered. Quite honestly, I took it to be a bit overblown. The idea that Roger Ailes would turn Fox News into a Trump super PAC seemed far-fetched.
But there has always been the nagging doubts. For instance, Donald Trump has been acting like he is Megyn Kelly’s deranged stalker. I’ll be honest here, I’m underwhelmed by Kelly and I thought her preening and bloviating in the first Fox News debate was little short of a grotesque exercise in “look how cool I am.” Even so, Trump’s response has been much more like a jilted boyfriend than an adult:
Ailes has made a series of very tepid and disinterested protests which seem to be more focused on not making Trump angry rather than standing up to Trump for his unmanly, and decidedly small-fingered, behavior. In fact, New York magazine reports that Fox News executives instructed on-air talent to let Kelly dangle in the wind.
As my colleague, Susan Wright, notes, Fox News has given Trump 50% more air time than Ted Cruz and John Kasich combined and over twice the amount of coverage of Ted Cruz alone.
To truly appreciate this graphic you have to focus on the dates. During that time period there have been primaries in Arizona, Utah, and Wisconsin. Wyoming. Colorado, and North Dakota have held conventions. The winner in all but one of these has been Ted Cruz. It is incredible that a whining, sniveling loser like Trump would dominate airtime.
However, yesterday the dam may have broken. Leon reported on a lawsuit filed by Cheri Jacobus claiming the Vienna-sausage-fingered Donald Trump and his vicious niblet, Corey Lewandowski, undertook a campaign of defamation against her after she made remarks critical of Donald Trump during television appearances. Inside the Jacobus lawsuit you find this:
The lawsuit also mentions Lewandowski boasting about his close relationship with Bill O’Reilly and Joe Scarborough.
Mr. Lewandowski, the lawsuit says, boasted in one meeting about Mr. Trump’s friendships with major television news personalities, including Roger Ailes and Bill O’Reilly of Fox News, and Joe Scarborough of MSNBC.
(We have documented Joe Scarborough’s fawning treatment of Donald Trump for months. Bill O’Reilly has escaped our notice because we don’t know anyone who watches him.)
This is simply extraordinary. Ailes is offering to use Fox News to help Trump.
Of course, Fox News is saying, “nothing to see here, folks, move along”
Fox reax to Lewandowski’s 2015 claim about Roger Ailes offering to help campaign (as revealed in Cheri Jacobus suit) pic.twitter.com/5tQzFHsv2J
— Dylan Byers (@DylanByers) April 18, 2016
And you’d expect nothing less. But what they did not do was deny the fact that Ailes sent the email, and the Jacobus accurately quoted it, and they didn’t deny it because they know during the course of discovery this email will come out. Their focus is now on spinning the email as some harmless missive in order to disguise the fact that Fox News has been acting as an arm of the Trump campaign.